Travel Pics Theme: On the Road Again! What a Capitol structure.

Capitol Records building

Capitol Records building

I’m not sure how this building is still standing – after all, I’m sure I’ve seen it destroyed a number of times!

Ah Hollywood, how deeply ingrained into our collective psyche you have become 🙂

The Capitol Records building is one of the most recognizable icons in LA .. which says something, given the number of iconic structures there are there.

The building dates back to the late 1950s .. and the circular building was designed by a 24 year old architect who “wanted everyone to be able to get the same views” .. rather than the corner offices getting the views, as was traditional to that time.

Despite the oft-expressed claim, it is NOT supposed to look like a stack of records – that’s just a coincidence.

Capitol, launched in 1942, was the first major West Coast music label.

Until then, the music industry was based primarily in New York.

Oh, there were labels in the South of the US (Sun Records in Memphis was just one) and a nascent music production centre in the Great Lakes area (that would solidify into Detroit’s Motown 20 years later) – but Capitol broke the mold.

After 15 years or so, the label decided it needed a brash statement of its presence .. and called on young Californian architect Lou Naidorf – who designed the world’s first circular high-rise office building for Capitol.

Nobody knew at the time that the building would become a lasting visual icon of Hollywood – but it certainly has.

Partly because it’s appeared in films so many times – in spectacular fashion.

I’ve seen it brought down in Earthquake, I’ve seen it shot up by Cylons in the 80s version of Battlestar Galactica, I’ve seen it hit by a tornado in The Day After Tomorrow, I’ve seen it impale an errant flying car in the otherwise forgettable “Hancock”, and I’ve even seen it crumble after 150 years of neglect in the documentary series Life after People.

But it is still there (or at least it was still there when we wandered past recently on a fleeting trip to Hollywood) – as is the recently renewed jazz-themed mural at its base, well worth a look.

Oh – and if you happen to pass by at night, watch the blinking light atop the spire.

It spells out “Hollywood” in Morse Code 🙂


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